As a certified tax planner, Ben Golden knows the IRS code—all 70,000 pages of it. That diligence and dedication is what his clients, including over 1,000 companies, find when they take their tax headaches to him at IRS Trouble Solvers and Golden Tax Relief. With a vast store of tax and financial knowledge, Ben, as CEO, and his team serve not only as tax professionals, but as advocates and educators to ensure everyday people don’t get steamrolled by an impersonal system. His unwavering dedication to standing up for clients earned him ranking among Inc. 5000’s Top 500 Fastest-Growing Companies in 2022 and 2023.
Even before he founded Golden Tax Relief in 2017 and IRS Trouble Solvers in 2020, Ben always had the philosophy of an advocate. During the 2010 BP oil spill disaster, he saw firms charging as much as 40% for claims. Inspired, he started charging 8% at his own accounting firm, HSG Accounting, which he sold in 2014, and was able to help 500 Panama City, Florida-area companies.
Today, IRS Trouble Solvers and Golden Tax Relief focus, respectively, on helping people resolve issues with the IRS, and helping people reduce their taxes through strategic planning. Their dual standpoints of audit and resolution make them uniquely capable of taming even the thorniest of tax problems, and providing clients with tax knowledge and much-needed peace of mind. “Two questions need to be answered: One, can I pay what the IRS says I owe? Two, do I really owe that amount?” Ben explains. “It’s so important to advocate for the client as much as possible. It’s really a passion because I still believe the IRS can bully taxpayers who don’t know they have the right to be represented.”
We spoke with Ben to learn more about what inspires him every day to help those in need.
Tell us about the unusual personal experience you had, and how it inspired IRS Trouble Solvers and Golden Tax Relief.
Early in my career, a client who owed $171,000 to the IRS had a revenue officer at their door, wanting immediate payment, which wasn’t possible. A few months later, that same officer came to my home saying she’d looked into my finances and that if I sold everything and liquidated my 401(k), I could pay the balance for the client. I said, “Ma’am, I don’t personally owe this money,” and she said, “Yes, you do.” She thought this because I’d put myself on the client’s payroll so I could sign checks for payment, but she didn’t realize there was a contract barring me from making decisions for the client. What’s more, she’d looked into my finances without completing the necessary 4180 interview, breaking policy. I called the territory manager, and, as a result, the officer was penalized, and while the client was able to pay, I was never held responsible. I tell everyone this story because it illustrates how having knowledge of taxes can make all the difference.
What are some of your other memorable stories to come out of your career?
We’ve truly had some amazing stories. There was one young lady who owed $37,000. Her husband had become disabled, so she was the caretaker and the only one working. Due to her circumstances, I was able to negotiate with the IRS so that she ended up owing only $1,400.
I had another client owe millions; they paid their taxes, but didn’t file certain forms. I made sure those forms were filled out correctly, allowing me to prove to the IRS that the penalties were the result of a different professional, not the client, and ended up saving them $22 million.
What is it about your values as a company that allows you to triumph for clients like this?
I always push “not if, but when.” That means always being ready to take care of someone when they need it, whether that’s an employee or a client. Management makes sure employees are well cared for, so they in turn can care for clients. When, not if, someone stumbles, the team is poised to hold them up. When employees are happy and fulfilled, they happily take care of clients.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I love helping people, and I truly enjoy it. I don’t think there’s a whole lot I can’t do, and I’m not afraid of a challenge. When others say no and leave people for dead financially, I’m excited to come put the pieces back together.